Transforming Pollution Into Power
Manta Biofuel aims to make the world a better place. To do it, it’s cleaning up contaminated bodies of water and ultimately converting pollution into carbon-neutral biofuel.
This company has raised more than five million dollars from notable investors including the U.S. Department of Energy and the State of Maryland. It’s also successfully demonstrated its patented technology in the field, and established a team of scientists and executives.
Last year, Manta Biofuel launched its water-treatment service (more on this later) and secured three paid pond-treatment projects for the Columbia Association in Maryland. Now it needs capital to scale its business.
With its technology, Manta Biofuel is targeting the $300 billion water-cleaning industry, a market riddled with issues.
Since 2018, nearly two-thirds of all wastewater treatment lagoons have at least one pollutant exceeding EPA standards, often caused by excessive growth algae. These violations can mean hefty fines or even jail time.
Furthermore, eighty percent of all wastewater-treatment facilities serve small communities and typically use lagoons to clean their water. Addressing these EPA violations often requires installation of new equipment, which takes years and can cost more than five million dollars.
Climate change isn’t helping the situation, either. Higher temperatures due to global warming are causing more severe algae blooms. Meanwhile, population growth stretches many wastewater-treatment facilities to their limits, with eighty-one percent operating at near capacity and fifteen percent operating over capacity. Operators want to do the right thing, but don’t have the resources to fix the problem. Enter Manta Biofuel.
This company was founded to convert algae into renewable fuel to fight climate change. Collecting and converting waste algae is a better way forward to address the need for this fuel — the U.S. alone consumes nearly twenty million barrels of fossil fuels every day, and emits 300 trillion pounds of carbon dioxide each year.
Despite the rising adoption of electric vehicles, as well as solar and wind technologies, the world is still highly dependent on fossil fuels. More than eighty percent of energy comes from these fuels. And sectors like air travel and cargo shipping may find it difficult to shift to an alternative fuel source.
Manta Biofuel’s process uses black magnetic sand (called magnetite) and powerful magnets to rapidly remove more than ninety percent of contaminants — algae and phosphorus — from the water.
Traditional water-treatment systems require massive footprints and massive checks. But Manta’s proprietary, magnetic-separation technology allows it to pack the power of a water-treatment plant into a cost-effective mobile system. This system is efficient and removes target contaminants to well below EPA limits. More than ninety percent of problem pollutants are continuously removed from more than 75,000 gallons of water every day.
This mobile approach enables Manta Biofuel to access markets previously untapped, such as rapid treatment of acute water problems nearly anywhere. The company’s solution can be deployed on an as-needed basis for as little as $10,000 per month.
With respect to its conversion capabilities, Manta Biofuel has years of experience growing, recovering, and converting algae into biofuel. Typically, biofuel companies incur significant costs to harvest and convert algae. Manta changes this equation by getting paid to remove polluting algae that’s growing at a customer’s site, then transform it into biofuel.
As mentioned, Manta Biofuel launched its water-treatment service in 2022. In the third quarter, it earned three paid pond-treatment projects for the Columbia Association in Maryland.
The company used this success to advance discussions with a leader in the pond/lake management space that’s part of a multinational company. This company generates more than three-and-a-half billion dollars in annual revenue and has nearly 10,000 ponds and lakes under management in Florida alone.
Additionally, in Q2 2023, Manta Biofuel has a pilot trial planned with a large multinational water-treatment company ($1.7 billion in revenue in 2022). It also has an active project with the Maryland Port Administration, treating water from its dredge spoil containment pond. Field trials are planned in Q2 2023.
Ryan has more than fifteen years of experience in the agriculture industry, including work at his family’s 2,000-acre grain farm.
Prior to starting Manta Biofuel, he was a graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland, where he conducted algal biofuel experiments. Before that, he was a research technician at the University of Washington, and a research assistant at Ohio State University.
He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology from Ohio State and a Ph.D. in Algal Biofuels from the University of Maryland.
Chris has nearly thirty years of experience in the biotech industry, including at startups and large, multinational companies.
Prior to joining Manta Biofuel in 2021, he was Vice President of Business Development with PanTheryx, a biotech-research company. Before that, he spent nearly five years as a Vice President with DSM, a chemical-manufacturing company.
Notably, he spent twenty years with Martek Biosciences, a Maryland-based biotech-research firm, serving as Vice President of its Pharmaceutical Division.
Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and a Master’s degree in Biotechnology from Johns Hopkins.
Onur has twenty years of biotech experience.
He began his career as a research assistant at Penn State University, developing nano-sized particles used in drug delivery. From there, he worked in business development for LifeSensors, a biotech company.
More recently, he was manager of the BioMaryland Center at the state of Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development. He also managed life-sciences projects at the University of Maryland, focusing on collaboration for various research initiatives.
Onur earned a Bachelor’s degree in Genetics from the University of California, Davis, and an MBA and Master’s degree in Pharmacology from Penn State.